Proposal Draft: Nouns Wallet (Request For Comment)

TL;DR

Project: Nouns Wallet is a nouns-branded and nouns-themed (described in the “Description” section below in the proposal) web extension wallet with latest untrusted (t, N) threshold MPC cryptography that can be utilised for empowering active crypto users and pushing the crypto ethos forward by making security accessible to all in a Nounstandingly simple and fun way.

The threshold MPC algorithm is developed in-house and has various advantages over other implementations of threshold MPC (explained in the “How is our threshold MPC different from others’?” section below in the proposal).

Funding ask: total of 500 ETH over 3 rounds (inclusive of 200 ETH for code audit)

Estimated Revenue from project to Nouns treasury: Conservative estimate between $3M to $5M a year until the wallets industry undergoes the next major revolution (plus increased recognition for Nouns). Basis for this estimation is explained in the “Estimated revenue to the Nouns treasury from this project” section below in the proposal.

Description

With our credible cryptography skills, we have an innovative collaborative proposal to offer — a nouns-branded web extension wallet system with threshold MPC options incorporated into it. The wallet will use our in-house untrusted (t, N) threshold cryptography, the latest threshold cryptography, to construct a system that simultaneously solves security and liquidity problems for active crypto users and pushes the crypto ethos forward by catering to the need for such a type of service. The web extension wallet will be focused towards optional threshold security, an intuitive UI/UX and creative Noun branding ideas, suggestions to which we are open to (eg. having a unique Noun wallet logo for every wallet, a tab showcasing the bid for the current noun, and/or other creative suggestions). A very basic design mock-up has been created just to show the threshold signing process (we are open to completely changing the UI/UX as per suggestions of the community and our own improvisations but this part is for Round 3):

Motivation

Hot wallets generally have low security unless linked to an external hardware wallet (eg. Ledgers). Having an untrusted (t, N) threshold MPC wallet system where signatures are split among different devices, will reduce the risk of single point of compromised keys. Multiple wallets will need to sign a transaction, in order to make signatures valid. The entire key will NEVER exist in its complete form - neither during generation nor during signing.

How is our threshold MPC different from others’?

The following feature summary compares our approach with the traditional and the other modern approaches. The smiley emoji indicates a point where we have an advantage over both the traditional as well as the other modern approaches.

Metric Traditional Approach Modern Approach (eg. Binance, CG’18) Our Approach
Portability No No Yes :smiley:
Security Severe risk of exposing the private key as the key is known by one entity. No risk at all as the private key does not exist in real life. No risk at all as the private key does not exist in real life.
Key Refresh (without changing the group public key) Not supported Supported Supported
User Addition & Removal Not supported (doing so would change the group public key) Not Supported Supported (without affecting the group public key) :smiley:
Signature Generation Fixed t entities can participate in the signature generation. Fixed t entities can participate in the signature generation. Any t entities can participate in the signature generation. :smiley:
Key Generation Generated by single entity Jointly generate by all the entities Jointly generated by all the entities
Anonymity Not anonymous Not anonymous Both versions - Completely anonymous and Non-anonymous :smiley:
Key Storage Secure storage Secure storage Secure encrypted cloud storage :smiley:
Key Recovery Not supported Not supported Supported :smiley:
Communication between users (key generation) Requires secure channel Requires secure channel Works with any public channel :smiley:
Communication between users (presigning) Requires secure channel Requires secure channel Works with any public channel :smiley:
System Setup Supports online/offline Supports online/offline Supports online/offline
Knowledge of the set of presigners during signing Yes Yes No :smiley:

(For less than t participants)

Funding Rounds

  • Round 1 - 50 ETH

    • This round will deliver the proof of concept via testing in an internal network of users, on the following signature schemes:
      • ECDSA
      • EdDSA
      • BLS
  • Round 2 - 150 ETH

    • This round will have two proposals - one for a B2B wallet and another for a B2C wallet. We will let the Nouns community decide on one of the two paths or both.
    • Creating a basic MPC based Web Extension Wallet with simple send and receive functionality.
    • Include Threshold signing in the wallet.
  • Round 3 - 300 ETH

    • Production-ready code
    • An intuitive web 3 UI with the branding ideas discussed in the “description” section and recommendations from the Nounders and the Nouns community incorporated.
    • The revenue generation model through swap fees - a percentage of the swap fees going to the Nouns treasury and the dev team for maintenance.

The cost allocations for all three rounds with their approximate timelines are given in the table below.

Funding Round Funding Ask Cost Allocation Timeline
Round 1 50 ETH All 50 ETH to the contributors for building the proof of concept of the in-house untrusted (t, N) threshold scheme. Approx 2 months from date of funding.
Round 2 150 ETH All 150 ETH to contributors for building the B2C/B2B/Both wallet systems and to expand team for round 3 Approx 3 months post round 1.
Round 3 300 ETH 200 ETH for code audits which would earn the product credibility in the market. 100 ETH to contributors for building launch-ready product. Yet to be decided. Will discuss with the Nouns community during rounds 1 & 2. Will also depend on time for audits and availability of funds to expand team post round 2.
Total 500 ETH - -

If proof of concept (round 1) is not completed within the given timeline, Nouns DAO is welcome to discontinue funding this project.

Estimated Revenue to the Nouns treasury from this project

MetaMask average daily revenue over the last 2 months from fees looks like around $200,000 a day (translating to $70M a year approx) from eyeballing this chart. More details on daily and cumulative swap fee revenue for MetaMask is on this dashboard and this article.

Exodus quarterly revenues for the last 2 year’s Q3s have been $18M and $11M respectively, details on this page.

We aim to compete with MetaMask and other hot wallets by offering the latest threshold MPC system built into a web extension hot wallet.

Going by the numbers above, we conservatively estimate that this project could eventually start generating $3M - $5M per year as swap fees. It could go as high as $70M like MetaMask.

A major portion of that revenue would keep going to the Nouns DAO treasury and a small portion to the devs team for maintenance.

Disclosures & background of contributors

The contributors of this project are creators of a subdivision (the R&D department) of the cryptocurrency exchange ZebPay. We are spinning out of ZebPay as the “Insaanity” group, and hence looking for independent funding.

A year and a half ago we began the crypto R&D journey with few principles and beliefs that brought us together. Insanity’s first goal is to reform the financial infrastructure of the world through crypto. Building this threshold scheme is just one of the many contributions we plan to bring to the crypto space in order to help spread the crypto ethos.

The people behind this project are:

Prashanth Irudayaraj (Ex — KEEP Network: Research Manager & Head of Operations, Ex — Tesla: Senior Program Manager, Current — ZebPay: VP of R&D, Current — Founder: Insaanity)

https://ca.linkedin.com/in/pirudayaraj

Dr. Sharmila Selvi (PhD Computer Engineering, Principal Scientist at ZebPay R&D specialising in cryptography, blockchain and cloud security)

https://in.linkedin.com/in/dr-sharmila-s-07315b42

Roshan Noronha (Senior Developer & Research Engineer for wallets at ZebPay R&D)

https://in.linkedin.com/in/roshangregorynoronha

Arya Shah (Product Manager for wallets, Senior Data Scientist, Quant Lead and Tokenomics expert at ZebPay R&D)

Arya is not on other social media. Hence submitting his GitHub profile. Other research work he has done for ZebPay is off GitHub or in private repos, not yet public.

Krina Shah (Senior Data Scientist and Tokenomics expert at ZebPay R&D)

https://in.linkedin.com/in/krina-shah-00945916b

Naqiyah Dhariwala (Senior Data Scientist and Web Developer at ZebPay R&D)

www.linkedin.com/in/nakiyahdhariwala98

Pratiksha (Senior Developer at ZebPay R&D)

https://www.linkedin.com/in/pratiksha-a2a073183

Aasif Javid (Junior Developer intern at ZebPay R&D)

www.linkedin.com/in/aasif-javid-091

Rana Singh (Junior Developer intern at ZebPay R&D)

https://in.linkedin.com/in/rana-singh-shashwat-7348a2190

6 Likes

This seems quite impressive. It will be massive if it succeeds! Fills up a huge void in the hot wallet market, a much needed product!

1 Like

Absolutely! This wallet can be used by individuals or by custodians in various forms of wallet architectures. Provides both agility and security! And yes, the market for this can be huge.

Interested as to whether this would be open sourced/public good

1 Like

@maxand98 the code is open source enough to prove that we can do MPC, not enough to be usable. That way we can protect our core algorithm which has many advantages compared to other threshold MPC implementations in the market (as described in the proposal above). Key generation, pre-signing and signature are open sourced for EdDSA (which is Cardano, XRP and Polkadot). You can look up the code for it here: https://github.com/O-RD/ths_monorepo

1 Like

I like it and can see a lot of usability in the future, however I think the creative Ideas you mentioned are very important and should be more fledged before putting the proposal on-chain.
I also think you should take marketing into account, it will not be easy to bring people into a brand new wallet unless they have very clear and worthwhile (non-technical) benefits for doing so.

1 Like

@blueguy thank you for the feedback very useful. Taking the crucial points you mentioned into consideration, we are working towards more specific and creative UI UX design ideas and wallet features that would attract the non-technical audience and build brand identity. Will upload them here before going on-chain. Will also outline a plan for marketing the wallet later… Glad to see that you recognise the usability of this product!

1 Like

Wow. What an awesome concept. I like the idea of having a Nouns wallet. It feels like a similar bet to Nouns Builder where we can fund the building blocks of an entire ecosystem and then as Nouns gradually beats out the 10k PFP projects, all of the tools will gather momentum together.

As far as the proposal, I really think a working demo of some kind should be available for something like this. If Nouns ultimately doesn’t want to do this, it would be really interesting to approach someone like Zora to see if they would be interested in helping to make it come to life and doing some kind of revenue split with you, Zora and Nouns and the devs. Might even be a good prop for Nouns Builder.

The other funding source to try might be something like DCS pod if you can make your proof of concept fit into the 25ETH range. They are looking for scalable, high impact ideas.

Anyway, good luck! I hope to see it happen. Would love to have you come and speak about this in Nouncil sometime as well to get some more traction and feedback. Pop in if you are interested!

1 Like

Thank you @AndrewLaddusaw !! Super helpful information and feedback. Thanks for the invite to the Nouncil discord. Definitely looking forward to joining. Will check out the alternative sources of funding that you mentioned too.

1 Like

The concept is really cool. It is important that its implementation is also at a high level. We have seen many wallet options that are forgotten after a month. I think that with the help of a strong community, wallet support should not raise questions. Although this story should be considered in the long term, and not just be a trend event that will be forgotten like many others.

1 Like

Thank you @BETEPAH for you feedback! Yes that’s correct, the implementation must also be at a high level. We as a to-be independently funded R&D group, are not only passionate about making projects like these successful but also fully incentivised to do so. The success of Nouns Wallet would buy us a lot of credibility as a group. With the Nouns DAO funding and participation we hope to create an impressive front end and a marketing plan to highlight in a simple and clear manner the unique technical selling points that our product offers to users and incorporate non-technical benefits in our wallet as well.